Tom in NO
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Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Thu Sep 13, 2007 3:25 am

Referencing a thread yesterday about emergency landings, and comments that were made about a TACA 737 performing an engines-out emergency landing on a levee in eastern New Orleans in May of 1988. A co-worker who was part owner in a C-152 and I took a run over the area a couple of days after the TACA landing (we were at a conference at LAS during the actual emergency). Due to flight rules, and the fact I didn't have a zoom lens on me, I got a bunch of photos, but they weren't the best. I've got a slightly better one than this somewhere, but it's with another group of photos that are hiding some where:


If you look closely at the photo, the 737 is parked at the left edge of the photo, in the center. He landed on the long strip of grass (called a 'levee batture' down here) just to the right of the narrow canal that runs from the top right towards the bottom left of the photo.

Boeing engineers repaired the engines on-site, and Boeing test pilots flew it off the batture back here to MSY, where the final cleanup was performed, and the 737 returned to service.

Tom at MSY
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777DadandJr
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Thu Sep 13, 2007 3:39 am

I have to say, I have heard the story before, and it never ceases to amaze me. Just goes to show what a tough aircraft the 737 really is.

Thanks for the pic and story Tom!  biggrin 

Russ
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positiverate
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:48 am

Can someone share the story with us?
 
dalb777
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Thu Sep 13, 2007 4:53 am

Quoting Positiverate (Reply 2):
Can someone share the story with us?

From: RE: Could A Plane Survive With Both Engines Out? (by CO777DAL Jul 7 2007 in Civil Aviation)
Reply 51:

24 May 1988; TACA 737-300; near New Orleans, LA:

The aircraft was approaching the New Orleans airport when it encountered heavy precipitation, including hail up to 1.25 inches (32 mm) in diameter. The aircraft experienced a dual engine flameout at about 16,200ft due to water ingestion, and the flight crew were able to establish emergency electrical power at about of 10,500ft. The crew was unsuccessful in their attempts to restart the engines, and had to execute an emergency landing on a grass strip on a levee on the Intercoastal Waterway (after initially planning to ditch the aircraft on the waterway). The flight crew successfully made an unpowered landing and none of the 45 occupants were injured. The aircraft was repaired and flown off the levee.

And from: Possible Emergency Landings (by Dubliftment Sep 11 2007 in Civil Aviation)
Reply 6:

The original plan was for Boeing to come down, remove the wings or whatever, and barge it over to NEW for reassembly. However, the Boeing engineers and test pilots took a look at it, determined that they simply change the engine and fly it off the levee, which is what they did.....no seat removal or anything. They flew over here to MSY, did some final cleanup, and put it back on the line.
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WA707atMSP
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Thu Sep 13, 2007 5:12 am

The airmanship involved in getting this airplane safely onto the levee is simply amazing. The pilots didn't get the credit they deserved, because the even more dramatic incident where the Aloha 737 shed part of its fuselage roof happened around the same time, and the Aloha incident got far more attention than the TACA incident did.

Thanks for sharing the picture with us!
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71Zulu
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Thu Sep 13, 2007 5:22 am

Another great pic Tom and have never seen that angle before. It doesn't really look like they had a lot of room does it?

Quoting Tom in NO (Thread starter):
He landed on the long strip of grass (called a 'levee batture' down here) just to the right of the narrow canal that runs from the top right towards the bottom left of the photo.

EDIT: Duh, OK I get it now.

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 4):
The pilots didn't get the credit they deserved,

In 1998 on the 10th anniversary, the City of New Orleans invited Captain Dardano and his F/O to New Orleans and presented them with a key to the city for their outstanding airmanship in preventing a disaster. The TV news reporter covering the event said we always hear about pilot error, but in this case how about pilot brilliance? What a great story.

[Edited 2007-09-12 22:27:12]
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geotrash
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Thu Sep 13, 2007 5:41 am

Intereting thing about the PIC that landed this ship on the levee...it was the 2nd time he had saved his passengers from an emergency. The first time was somewhere over South America (Peru?) when his airplane was shot at by rebels. He took a bullet in the face but kept flying the airplane until he could land it safely. Now THAT is a pilot!

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yellowtail
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Thu Sep 13, 2007 5:51 am

My 2nd cousin was the F/O...in fact I flew jumpseat with him to MSY a couple of days before the incident.....truly...he thought nothing of the incident except that he was glad it happened in MSY instead of MIA (his other route) as MSY 'Presented so many good opportunities for a good engine out landing"

In fact, he told me ...many many years ago...that it was truly the grace of god that presented them with such and ideal put down spot. He theorized that the water landing might not have had such a good outcome..

He asked to be on the fly off the levee and was denied permission!
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OPNLguy
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Thu Sep 13, 2007 7:36 am

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 4):
The pilots didn't get the credit they deserved, because the even more dramatic incident where the Aloha 737 shed part of its fuselage roof happened around the same time, and the Aloha incident got far more attention than the TACA incident did.

ALPA (or maybe it was AWST magazine) gave the crew an award of some kind at the time of the incident, and it was well-deserved.

"Good" news will always take a backseat to "bad" news, since the former can often be "boring" (so they seem to think), and that latter can be made (deservedly or not) to be "exciting" due to the immediacy of the event, and the media's ability to edit a piece however they want to. Any resemblance to reality is then pure coincidental...
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jetdeltamsy
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Fri Sep 14, 2007 9:02 am

Quoting 777DadandJr (Reply 1):
have to say, I have heard the story before,

I was sitting at home on the couch watching TV when the news cut in to give the story.

I must say I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. A passenger jet landing on a levee is not your day to day story.

It was amazing. Camera crews were there just minutes after it landed. The passengers and flight attendants were crying; huggin and kissing the captain.

From what I recall, the captain had a reputation of being a cowboy in the air. I remember him wearing his big, dark aviator sunglasses and acting like nothing had happened.
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Fri Sep 14, 2007 11:08 pm

Quoting 71Zulu (Reply 5):
In 1998 on the 10th anniversary, the City of New Orleans invited Captain Dardano and his F/O

He is still with us. A gentleman and one of the most experienced captains of the Group. My last trip with in the cockpit was this last monday MIA/SAL and he's really and amazing person.
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Tom in NO
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Sat Sep 15, 2007 6:15 am

Found a couple of additional pictures this afternoon, including the one I consider the best of the ones I took:



This one is probably the best perspective of what Captain Dardano and his co-pilot were up against in lining up their final approach. The sliver of levee batture they set the aircraft down on is just to the left of the small canal running up and down in the left middle of the picture. Being that the levee itself is part of the narrow land mass to the left of the canal and to the right of the waterway on the opposite side of the levee, you can see how narrow a strip of land they had to deal with:



Tom at MSY
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bok269
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Sat Sep 15, 2007 9:39 am

Simply incredible that the pilots were able to put her down. Even more incredible that they got her back up.
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71Zulu
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Sat Sep 15, 2007 11:00 am

Yes, just incredible to spot this. MSY Tower had told them about the 4-lane highway that connects to the bridge in the bottom pic, but they said they couldn't make it. MSY actually lost contact with the aircraft in the descent and had no idea exactly where they had gone down and of the outcome. A departing aircraft from Lakefront airport was asked to fly into the area and look for the aircraft, and there was obviously great relief when the pilot reported the 737 down safely on the levee batture.

A bit more info on the bottom pic. The aircraft landed on the property of the NASA Michoud Facility, the builders of the space shuttle external fuel tanks. The barges you see in one of the above pics are used to float the tanks to Cape Canaveral. In the bottom pic, you are looking almost due west but still 20 miles from MSY. At the upper right corner of the pic is Lake Pontchartrain and the land sticking out in the lake is NEW but they could not reach it. The plan if not for this fortunate piece of ground, was to make a 360 and ditch in Lake Borgne which they were flying over when they spotted the landing site.
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Coronado990
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:41 pm

Wow! Can that be right? According to Google Earth, that levee is only 1500 ft long and they only used about 1300 ft of it. Truly amazing!

Big version: Width: 1024 Height: 743 File size: 85kb
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71Zulu
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Sat Sep 15, 2007 12:48 pm

They landed the other way; from the far right of your picture to the left (I made the same mistake when I first looked at it too).

After the landing, they must have towed the aircraft to it's resting location in Tom's pic's for ease of maintenance.
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Coronado990
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:02 pm

Quoting 71Zulu (Reply 15):
They landed the other way; from the far right of your picture to the left (I made the same mistake when I first looked at it too).

Ok..that makes more sense. Thanks for the correction.
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itsnotfinals
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:09 pm

This plane went on to fly for HP  Smile as a lease
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71Zulu
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:23 pm

ex N75356 TACA
ex N75356 Aviateca
ex N319AW America West
ex N764MA Morris Air

and still flying with WN as N697SW


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © James Richard Covington



If only the passengers knew
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da man
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:30 pm

Quoting 71Zulu (Reply 18):
and still flying with WN as N697SW

I'll have to check my flight log, but I think I rode this particular bird 2 years ago.
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itsnotfinals
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:32 pm

Quoting 71Zulu (Reply 18):
If only the passengers knew

Thanks for the update , I didn't really follow that aircraft after the HP stint.
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LaminarFlow
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Sat Sep 15, 2007 1:39 pm

Very fascinating. Thank you for the great historical pictures.

Quoting 71Zulu (Reply 18):
If only the passengers knew

The average traveller might be concerned. Would any of us be? Not me.
 
ConcordeBoy
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Mon Sep 17, 2007 3:58 am

Quoting LaminarFlow (Reply 21):
Would any of us be? Not me.

...I'd be a little creeped out if I knew, particularly after that CI crash circa 2002.
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n710ps
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RE: Taca 737 On New Orleans Levee (pic)

Mon Sep 17, 2007 5:13 am

Can you imagine just working on a boat over there and suddenly you see this 733 coming in low slow and quiet to land on the grass. I would be removing my draws after that. Great airmenship on the crews part too.
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